Pirates teammates cool talk of Bafana Afcon call for teen star Mofokeng

Orlando Pirates star player Relebohile Mofokeng during the MTN8 final match against Mamelodi Sundowns at Moses Mabhida Stadium on 7 October 2023.
Orlando Pirates star player Relebohile Mofokeng during the MTN8 final match against Mamelodi Sundowns at Moses Mabhida Stadium on 7 October 2023.
Image: Darren Stewart/Gallo Images

Teen star Relebohile Mofokeng has shown his immense potential in a breakthrough season for Orlando Pirates, but his Bucs teammates are cautious about talk of a Bafana Bafana call-up as soon as the African Cup of Nations (Afcon) in January.

Mofokeng, 19, has made big waves since being introduced by Pirates coach Jose Riveiro in the latter stages of last season.   

This season, the exciting, skilful young midfielder has made himself a crucial player at the Soweto giants, attracting attention beyond South African borders.   

Mofokeng recently had a trial with English Premier League side Wolverhampton Wanderers and there have been reports of other clubs interested abroad, including in Spain.

The highly-rated winger has been mentioned by some admirers as deserving a place in South Africa coach Hugo Broos’ squad for the Afcon in Ivory Coast from January 13.

Bucs senior head Miguel Timm, 31, is among Mofokeng's many admirers among his club teammates, but said the public should be cautious about calls Mofokeng's Bafana introduction in a competition that will pit Africa’s best against each other. 

“Honestly, he hasn’t had a call-up yet, but I think it’s coming sooner or later, and he is going to be very important for the national team,” Timm said.

Orlando Pirates' 19-year-old Relebohile Mofokeng played in his first orginal Soweto Derby as the Buccanners beat Moroka Swallows at Orlando Stadium.

“I think at this moment, he and all of us are just trying to guide him to be the best version of himself at club level so that he can get to the highest level. And the things that he can do are crazy. We are trying to help him reach his full capacity.

“Being part of the Afcon, I don’t think it’s the main priority at the moment, I think more so [it's about him] finding his full potential.”

Another Pirates senior player, Vincent Pule, 31, said the team's experienced players are working hard to nurture Mofokeng to his full his potential.

“He is a good boy, a good human being and he always wants to learn. He listens and I think that is going to help him a lot,” Pule said.

“As the youngster he is, he is a very special boy. He is comfortable on the ball and he can do things other youngsters cannot do. 

“I think ours is to make sure we give him the confidence and we make sure we give him the support he needs. I think he is going to excel.”   

Wolves have not given official feedback on Mofokeng’s trial, but the player has been improving his game week in, week out in the DStv Premiership.   

He was on song when Pirates defeated Moroka Swallows 2-0 at Orlando Stadium in Soweto on Tuesday.   

Coach Riveiro will count on players such as the youngster to inspire Bucs to another victory when they host TS Galaxy in their Premiership fixture at Orlando on Saturday (8pm).